Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes & Helpful Hints

Crock-Pots and slow cookers became extremely popular in the 1970s. Subsequently, they dwindled to near extinction before recently undergoing a revival. The best thing about the resurgence of this handy appliance is that now, there are so many more options in slow cooker design (e.g. both manual and digital models, ceramic or stoneware insets, availability of non-stick coatings such as Teflon, portable models and even choices in lid design). During seasons when the weather is cold, and at busy times around the holidays, slow cookers can be invaluable for the following reasons:

  • Nutritious and balanced one-pot meals can be prepared inside a slow cooker, cutting down on meal prep time.
  • Slow cooker recipes can be set up hours in advance, allowing a hot meal to be ready and waiting for you when you come home from work or school.
  • Crock-Pots and slow cookers don’t heat up a kitchen the way an oven can. They also utilize less electricity, cutting down on your energy usage.
  • The slowness of the cooking process helps to tenderize less expensive cuts of meat.

Obviously, for people with hectic schedules, the timesaving aspects of slow cooking can be a huge benefit. You may be surprised at the number and variety of mouth-watering recipes that can be made with this relatively low-cost appliance. Below are some suggestions on making meat, soups and stews, and desserts in a slow cooker, and a few yummy recipes to check out:

Meat Dishes:

  • All types of meat can be slow-cooked, even whole chickens and large cuts of beef, but for better taste and texture, choose meats that have a firmer texture and are higher in fat, such as chuck roasts, short ribs, pork shoulders, lamb shanks and dark meat chicken. The extra fat makes the meat tender and flavorful when cooked with the moist, low heat of a slow cooker. Leaner meats like chicken breasts and pork tenderloin tend to dry out with when slow-cooked.
  • Another tip with meat is to trim the excess fat; otherwise, you’ll wind up with your meal stewing in an unappetizing, greasy liquid. This includes removing the skin from chicken, too.
  • If you are cooking meat along with vegetables (potatoes, carrots and onions work well in a slow cooker), make sure you layer the vegetables on the bottom of the cooker and put the meat on top.
  • Finally, consider browning your meat and sautéing the vegetables before you put them into the slow cooker. The payoff is food with an extra layer of rich, caramelized flavor.

Try these delicious meat recipes:

Slow Cooker Turkey — Perfect for holiday meals.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Meatballs — These make a delicious appetizer or holiday potluck dish.

Crock Pot Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze — Another holiday meal crowd-pleaser.

Soups and Stews:

Combine colder weather with an active family and a crockpot, and voilà — delicious slow cooker stews make the perfect mealtime solution. Stews can be a combination of meat and vegetables, as in Slow Cooker Beef Stew, or tasty vegetarian dishes like Classic Lasagna and Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers.

  • Remember, avoid opening the lid of your cooker while in operation, as this can add considerably to the cooking time required.
  • Regarding cooking time and slow cooker settings, it generally takes twice as long to cook a dish on the “low” setting as on “high.” Different recipes call for specific settings to yield the best results.

Soup is another Crock-Pot-friendly dish which can be made using any of countless recipes, with or without meat. To make it even easier, consider using a pre-prepared soup mix, possibly even adding a few additional ingredients of your own. A couple of holiday soup classics to make in a slow cooker include Healthy Crockpot Potato Soup with Chicken and Easy Crockpot Vegetable Lentil Soup.

Desserts:

There is no skimping on decadence when using a slow cooker to make desserts. Crockpots are excellent for making moist cakes and crumbles, and even some kinds of pies, cookie bars and fudge. People with experience using slow cookers to make desserts comment on how easy it can be: “Just dump all the ingredients in and let the slow cooker do the work.” Of course, we love that.

Since the holidays go hand-in-hand with sweet indulgences, check out these recipes:

Slow Cooker Hot Fudge Turtle Brownies — Fulfills every sweet-tooth

Slow Cooker Blueberry Cobbler — Serve a la mode with vanilla ice cream or your favorite whipped cream.

Cookies and Cream Slow Cooker Fudge — Perfect homemade gift

If you threw away your slow cooker sometime during the ‘80s, it’s time to get a new one and try some of the recent recipes made possible with improvements in this appliance. Think of all the gift-wrapping and Santa-letter-writing you could do while your dinner or party recipe is taking care of itself inside your Crock-Pot.

Vintage Décor for Christmas – Festive, Fun & Affordable

The smell of fresh pine needles, the beauty of twinkling lights, creamy-sweet eggnog, vibrant packages trimmed with satin bows — these are just a few of our best Christmas memories. Bring back those cozy, age-old feelings of Christmas nostalgia with these fun, affordable vintage items, available right here at Miles Kimball. What better way to enjoy the holiday than to feel like a kid again?

1. Vintage Resin Reindeer, Set of 3:

This adorable set of figurines is likely to make you flash back to the original 1964 television production, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Remember Rudolph and his friends: Sam the Snowman, Donner the Reindeer (and Mrs. Donner), Yukon Cornelius and Clarice the Doe? And of course, don’t leave out the Abominable Snowman and Hermey the Elf/dentist.

Each figurine in this sturdy reindeer set is authentically detailed and specially decorated with a Christmas bell around its neck. The trio makes a charming adornment for a table, mantel, windowsill, or alongside other retro holiday décor.

2. Tin Fire Engine Ornament:

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, ornaments made from tin, inspired by mechanical toys being manufactured in Germany at that time, became popular. Brightly colored via lithograph, these ornaments were miniature works of art. In fond remembrance of this historical Christmas ornament style, our fire engine ornament is crafted from tin and detailed in brilliant color. Even more fun are the spinning wheels and moving ladder. Complete the vintage effect with other tin ornaments, including our Tin Bi-Plane Ornament and Tin Locomotive Ornament.

3. Battery-Operated Vintage-Style Ceramic Tree:

The Christmas tree is the most traditional holiday icon, and this special ceramic tree is distinctively inspired by holiday décor from the 1960s and ‘70s. Maybe you even painted and kiln-fired a tree like this yourself a few decades ago. Brightly lit by multicolored, battery-operated mini-lights, this Christmas tree doesn’t drop needles. It stands beautifully anywhere in your home, shining with color for hours on two AA batteries. Timer-operated, the tree will sparkle without your worrying about “on/off” or electric cords and outlets.

4. Vintage Candolier Lights:

Our retro candolier lights instantly bring a warm Christmas glow to your home. A delightful addition to any holiday theme, they add a touch of calm inspiration through their steadfast radiating beams. Detailed right down to the “wax” drip, the candolier lights are perfect for a mantel. Better yet, purchase several and place them in the front windows of your home, to bring holiday cheer to all who pass by. C7 bulbs are included and are replaceable with any color C7 bulb.

5. Special Magic Coca Cola Puzzle 1000 pieces:

What could be more “vintage” than Coca Cola, which has been quenching thirsts and tickling tongues for over 125 years? This challenging, 1000-piece puzzle will provide your holiday guests and family members with hours of entertainment. Watch the festive images of Santa with children, elves, gifts, a toy train — and bottles of Coca Cola, naturally — emerge as the pieces are correctly placed. The completed puzzle makes a cheery tabletop display during the holidays. Just don’t bump into the table, because you’ll have to start all over again.

6. Vintage Bottle Brush Wreath by Holiday Peak:

In 1930, the Addis Brush Company fashioned the first artificial, green-dyed, bottle-brush Christmas tree. The Addis tree was one of the earliest forms of artificial trees. Twenty years later, they patented their “silver pine” bottle brush tree. Hearkening back to these times, our 14” diameter bottle brush wreath is flocked in white and embellished with gleaming, multicolored mini-ornaments. Pretty and festive, this retro-style Christmas decoration is fun and unique, carrying with it a bit of holiday history.

7. Vintage Holiday Tree Vinyl Table Cover by Chef’s Pride:

This drop-style table cover, constructed of heavy-gauge vinyl, is adorned with retro Christmas images — traditional green trees and white snowflakes against a red-and-white gingham background. Remember decorating Christmas cookies on a tablecloth like this? Of course, since the vinyl surface is easy to wipe clean. Plus, the reverse side is lined with soft polyester that won’t scratch your table. Enjoy holiday meals on this table cover, while imagining yourself back in your grandma’s kitchen.

8. Personalized Merry Mason Jar Christmas Card Set of 20:

Carrying the vintage style into your Christmas cards, the Merry Mason Jar Christmas card is inspired by the wonder of snow globes. The cards are die-cut in the shape of a mason jar, and decorated with the scene of an old-time automobile transporting a Christmas pine through the snow. The artwork extends to the back of the card, and the set comes with coordinating envelopes. Even better, this unforgettable greeting can be individualized with the names of your friends and family.

Like Christmas itself, vintage décor never goes out of style. Start your collection now and enjoy adding to it over the years of holidays to come. Both you and your home during this special season will become known as true “classics.”

Personalized Christmas Ornaments | 9 Favorite Themes

Life consists of moments, each one different than the one before it. But some moments — or combined moments — stand out as exceptional. Maybe it was the moment you met the person you married, or the moment you saw your infant child for the first time. Or perhaps it was the day you graduated college, or the Christmas you shared with a special friend who has since passed away. However many extraordinary moments we have had before they were replaced by the next, we can recall them and celebrate them through something symbolic, something as simple as a personalized ornament unique to us.In honor of all your moments, we at Miles Kimball are proud to offer what is arguably the largest variety of personalized ornaments anywhere, providing a forever remembrance of cherished people, events and milestones:

1. Family

You will find over 85 personalized ornament styles for special family members, all designed to celebrate special family members, family holidays, and significant events. Many reflect traditional Christmas themes, and others are crafted with their own unique appeal.

In considering which to choose, remember that “family” can be one person or several. A newly born baby, a couple just married, a beloved son, daughter, brother or sister, or a loved one who has passed — all are family. For families with several members, we have plenty of adorable designs, like our Personalized Penguins in Ugly Sweaters Ornament (to the right) or the Personalized Glitter Tree Ornament. For a new baby, check out our Personalized Snowbaby’s First Christmas Ornament. Newlyweds can memorialize their first Christmas together with the Personalized Candy Cane Snow Couple Ornament.

At Miles Kimball, personalization is always free. The most important thing to remember after you’ve chosen your favorites is to provide all the names you want included on each ornament, spelled correctly; plus any additional information you want on the ornament, such as date of birth or weight of a newborn, an anniversary date, or perhaps a special message you’ve written. We provide simple instructions for ordering that make obtaining your one-of-a-kind ornament a seamless process.

2. Hobbies & Professions

With over 60 styles representing a wide variety of careers and pastimes, you’re sure to find the perfect ornament for your musician, doctor, farmer, dancer, bowler, or even video gamer. Don’t leave yourself out, either — check out our Personalized Online Shopper Ornament.

3. Nostalgic

You’ll love our collection of over 30 “blast-from-the-past,” retro-style ornaments. Bring back fond memories with classic designs such as the Personalized Silver Tone Bell Ornament (to the right), a gleaming beauty and top-selling customer favorite.

4. Sports

We have over 25 ornament styles for a huge variety of sports — everything from baseball and volleyball to treadmill and pickle ball. Start by looking at our Personalized Sports Ornament for a taste of our charming selection. You’re sure to find your sport or that of your loved ones. This is your chance to show your pride in their special interest/accomplishment.

5. Pets & Animals

People with pets know how deeply their animals touch their heart — they’re really like another beloved family member. Our collection of over 25 personalized ornaments for pets will make them a part of your holiday festivities, letting everyone know how important and cherished they are. Choose from an assortment of styles with dog, cat and horse themes, or tease the imagination with something more whimsical like the Personalized T-Rex Ornament or the Personalized Unicorn Ornament.

6. Whimsical

Christmas and the holidays are all about fairytales, magic and make-believe. Let your imagination run wild with our collection of over 20 personalized ornaments that will delight children, young and old. Check out the Personalized Superhero Ornament (to the right) for the star in your life, or the Personalized Blue Princess Castle Ornament for your little princess. There’s even a traditional Christmas Pickle Ornament featuring a pickle with a Santa hat.

7. Special Occasions

Personalized ornaments are a natural way to commemorate special life events, including births, anniversaries, marriages, graduations and even unforgettable trips. As your life and that of your family moves forward, collecting special occasion ornaments will lead to holidays filled with fond remembrances.

8. Toys

For children, nothing says “Christmas” more than toys. Bright-colored toy ornaments, like our Personalized Tractor Ornament or Personalized Baby First Christmas Rocking Horse Ornament will ramp up the holiday cheer.

9. Food & Drink

Our selection of personalized food/drink-themed ornaments includes some that look so yummy (like the Personalized Snowman Cookie Ornament), your mouth will water. Or for the wine aficionado in your life, how about the Personalized “Love the Wine You’re With” Ornament?

Explore all the unique and well-made personalized ornament choices at Miles Kimball, and start your distinctive ornament collection this holiday season. All our ornaments are made of sturdy resin and available at affordable prices. Priceless because they are a visible reflection of you, your life, and the things and people important to you, our ornaments will bring added joy to you and your loved ones for years to come.

Top 3 Christmas Tree Decorating Decisions

Did you know that the tradition of decorating Christmas trees began in northern Europe, and particularly Germany, during the early 16th century? At that time, devout Christians started bringing embellished trees into their homes at Christmastime. Some built pyramid-type structures from wood, and used evergreen boughs and candles to decorate them if wood was hard to find. The story goes that 16th century Protestant reformer Martin Luther was the first to add lights to a Christmas tree. Purportedly walking home one evening, composing a sermon, he looked up and caught a glimpse of stars twinkling behind some pine tree boughs. Struck by the beauty of this sight and wishing to re-create it for his family, he erected a pine tree in the main room of his residence and attached lit candles to its boughs with wire.

Hopefully this amazing story will make you want to create a holiday tree that will inspire your family with its splendor. Since the early days, Christmas tree decorating ideas have, without doubt, skyrocketed in elaborateness and options. With all the choices for tree-trimming these days, the ways of going about it are as varied as the people who put up a tree.

1. Real or Artificial?

Before tree-trimming can even begin, of course, the basic choice between using a real or fake tree must be confronted. Nowadays, sustainability is a factor influencing this decision for many families. According to an article published by the National Christmas Tree Association, natural tree sales in the U.S. have remained relatively flat over the past 15 years, with about 27 – 33 million trees sold annually. During that same period, however, artificial tree sales have more than doubled, going from approximately 9 million trees in 2004 to 21 million in 2017.

In spite of the argument that fake trees, composed of PVC and steel, are less sustainable, USA Today reported the findings of an actual sustainability consulting company, which considered such things as greenhouse gas emissions, and water and energy use of real versus artificial trees. On a one-to-one basis, the consultants stated, live trees are more environmentally preferable; however, considering that most artificial trees are used for several years, the fake ones are more sustainable.

Less quantifiable are the intangible factors relating to Christmas trees, such as love for the smell of fresh pine throughout your living room, the value of personal family traditions around Christmas and the holidays, or the romance of trekking out to a rural field or Christmas tree lot to pick the “perfect” pine.

2. Thematic or Eclectic?

Yet another Christmas tree conundrum is the desire to make your tree a reflection of elegance and aesthetic appeal, versus a still-lovely-yet-less-contrived tree decorated with anything and everything that suits your fancy. Again, this is a matter of individual taste and opinion. Some would argue that every Christmas tree, even Charlie Brown’s, is a thing of beauty.

Trees with planned themes can be more challenging and costly to construct, depending on the idea in mind. The simplest are based on color schemes of up to no more than three or four colors, using ornaments such as monochromatic glass balls of varying sizes, metallic bells (to the right), shiny ribbons, garlands and tree picks, which come in all sorts of styles and colors.

More complex themes might include nostalgic, sports, or toys. It can be challenging — yet entertaining and satisfying — to carefully pick out and choose Christmas ornaments that fit a particular idea. For people who love to collect, a theme-based tree can be an impressive reflection of their passion for and skill at this hobby.

Most families who have young children or who prefer a simpler approach will opt for a non-theme tree-trimming style. Most parents hang their children’s handmade ornaments with love and pride, positively encouraging their children to create and participate in holiday festivities. Unlimited types of delightful ornaments, even more meaningful when personalized, can have meaning and significance that brings more joy than “designer-type” decorations. Regardless whether Christmas tree decorations are theme-based or “homestyle,” however, they bring joy to the trimmer and to those who enjoy viewing it during the holiday season.

3. Angel or Star?

Angels have traditionally been placed on the top of a Christmas tree to represent their role at Jesus’ birth. In the nativity story, a “host of angels” appeared in the sky above Bethlehem to announce the birth of Christ. Angels were also involved when Gabriel, the archangel of revelation, revealed to Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus; and angels showed up in Joseph’s dreams to inform him that he would be Jesus’ earthly father.

Stars used to top a Christmas tree symbolize the famed Star of Bethlehem (also called the Christmas Star), which led the wise men, or magi, to the exact spot where Jesus was born. Similarly, star ornaments (to the left) anywhere on your tree bring this special meaning to mind, inspiring us to ponder the religious meaning of the holiday.The act of decorating a Christmas can be a tradition in and of itself, with many people having tree-trimming parties to bring holiday festivity to this happy event. The fun of picking out and hanging ornaments can be an important opportunity for fellowship and bonding among family or friends. All the lovely choices we have available today help make our Christmas tree a reminder of the spirit of light and love surrounding the holiday season.

Celebrate The Day of The Three-Leaf Clover

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Miles Kimball.

The Origin of St. Patrick’s Day:
Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. According to legend St. Patrick used the three leaf clover (or shamrock) to explain the Trinity.

Celebrate your Irish pride this St. Patrick’s Day with everything you need for a truly festive celebration available from Miles Kimball. Everyone enjoys the luck of the Irish on St. Paddy’s Day and we’ve got just what you need to spread the luck around on this special occasion. From a fun St. Patrick’s Day garden flag to shamrock apparel, jewelry, and fabulous collectibles, you’ll find everything you need for show off your Irish heritage all year round. The fun starts in Miles Kimball’s St. Patrick’s Day department where you can stock up on playful décor and more, including lights and shamrock wreaths!

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Save Money Shopping Our After-Holiday Clearance

Miles Kimball’s after-holiday clearance offers a wide selection of our most popular winter products at our lowest-ever prices, so you can find all your favorites while sticking to your shopping budget. Our holiday clearance includes a unique variety of items including decorative accents, holiday cards, holiday storage bags, pull-up trees, holiday décor, and more. You’ll find plenty of money-saving deals on one-of-a-kind items you’ll love, with incredible discounts that slash prices up to 75 percent.

At Miles Kimball, we pride ourselves on gathering a collection of high-quality, unique items in one easy-to-shop place, making it easy for our customers to find affordable products of all kinds. Shopping for a special gift for a loved one or friend? Our rock-bottom holiday clearance prices mean you’ll be able to get more for your money, putting together a truly wow-worthy gift that’s sure to make an impression. Plus, with an inventory of hard-to-find products you won’t see anywhere else, you can be sure that any gift item you choose will stand out as something special.

Shopping our after-holiday clearance is a smart way to find the perfect pieces to refresh your home in time for spring, all while enjoying the added benefit of major savings. Breath new life into your space with our variety of decorative accents, garden flags, wall art, and more. Or, stock up on décor, storage, and gift wrap for next holiday season, saving yourself the time and money of the winter shopping rush.

Whether you’re hoping to add a stylish touch to your space, find the perfect gift, or stock up on home essentials, Miles Kimball has the products you’re searching for at prices you won’t believe.

Miles Kimball 2018 Christmas Card Collection

Miles Kimball brought his vision of personalized Christmas cards to the market with the clever use of the Minneapolis phone book and borrowed capital. We take pride in the idea that started it all – Christmas Cards, and that’s why you’ll always find an incredible selection of beautifully designed cards available at Miles Kimball seen below.

From religious blessing cards to stunning box sets, every card is still produced and personalized in our state-of-the-art facility in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Expanding from our celebrated catalog to our convenient Card Shoppe online in 2000, we make it easy to put together your Christmas card orders. Discover a vast array of cards so beautiful they’ll become keepsakes at Miles Kimball. From deliciously creative personalized scented recipe cards to selections that celebrate American pride we have a greeting card to send a message with a personal touch every holiday season.

Whether you’re looking to commemorate your years together or wish to express heartfelt gratitude with festive flair, we’ve got you covered at Miles Kimball.  Browse our extensive selection or narrow search results by type like traditional, nostalgic, whimsical, and religious offerings to show you care with a personal holiday card. The Miles Kimball family wishes you a Happy Holiday and New Year full of peace and joy.